inline imageBird

The purpose of this column is to highlight innovative publications and websites in food science education. If you know of a website or a recent publication that you believe other readers would like to know about, please submit the full text of the article or the URL for the website and an annotation of not more than 125 words. We welcome your resources and comments on this column. Material should be submitted to: Jim Bird, Science & Engineering Center, Fogler Library, Univ. of Maine, Orono, ME 04469, or e-mail to If e-mailing, please put “JFSE submission” in the subject line.

College English (National Council of Teachers of English). 2008. Special topic: Food. 70(4):345–436.

This issue of College English is devoted to food writing. Papers include: “Consuming prose: The delectable rhetoric of food writing”, “Food memoirs: What they are, why they are popular, and why they belong in the literature classroom”, and “Books that cook: Teaching food and food literature in the English classroom”. For a very brief description of each article in this special topic issue go to

Koch P, Barton AC, Contento I, and Crabtree M. 2008. Farm to table and beyond: Helping students make sense of the global food system. Sci Scope 31(9):36–9.

The authors describe an activity, part of the Farm to Table & Beyond curriculum, where grade 5 to 6 students diagram the production and processing of food. This activity, utilizing observation and discussion, helps students put the food system into a biological and environmental context. Topics explored in the curriculum include food preservation, environmental effects of food systems, and transportation issues related to food.

McDonald J. 2008. Enhancing food-safety education through shared teaching resources. J Vet Med Educ 35(2):207–11.

The author describes an innovative project, Design to Dissemination (D2D), developed for veterinary teaching faculty to provide them with food safety resources. The information (called “learning objects”) is presented in various formats including text, animation, audio, powerpoint, and video. The project has three objectives (from p. 208–209): “To provide institutions, faculty, and students with high-quality, clinically relevant, interactive educational materials….; To provide easy access to the materials….; To help faculty use learning objects effectively to build or enhance a course.”

A logon is required to fully utilize the site's capabilities but users can create an account. To view this ongoing project, go to the following website: Veterinary Food Safety Education Learning Object Repository

Segner S and Scholthof K-BG. 2007. Environmental microbiology: Bacteria & fungi on the foods we eat. The Am Biol Teach 69(3):149–57.

Utilizing fruits and vegetables, a laboratory exercise was developed for the undergraduate course “Pathogens, the Environment, and Society” at Texas A&M

Univ. Students concentrated on the identity of cosmopolitan bacteria and fungi on both washed and unwashed fruits and vegetables. Detailed laboratory protocols are presented. The author presents a number of internet resources useful in lab and lecture preparation.

Sorgo A, Hajdinjak Z, and Briski D. 2008. The journey of a sandwich: computer-based laboratory experiments about the human digestive system in high school biology teaching. Adv Physiol Educ 32(1):92–9.

Based on results from a questionnaire, the authors found that high school students were most successful when hands-on, computer-based experiments were used to teach human digestion. Topics taught included jaw chewing force, dissolution speed, enzymatic breakdown of food, bacteriocidal activity of hydrochloric acid, and importance of the intestine lining's surface. These experiments will be upgraded in the future, based on student input. The authors plan to design experiments to teach other systems.

Dairy Science and Food Technology (accessed 11/17/2008)

This website contains information on the industrial uses of lactic acid bacteria and their bacteriophages, antimicrobial systems in milk, and factors influencing the quality and yield of cheese. There are also sections on starter cultures, probiotics, modeling in food technology, and a summary of information on modified atmosphere packaging. The articles on general food technology include labeling, nutritional claims, wine making and thermal processing. There are calculators and models, such as one for predicting the grade value of Cheddar cheese, theoretical yield of cheese, and a calculator using linear programming for calculating ice cream mixes. The site is aimed at students and practitioners in dairy science and technology, and there are discussion area, extensive links, and literature citations. There are also significant sections aimed at helping students write papers and theses including a Harvard-style reference generator. (Contributed by Dr. Michael Mullan, Head of Higher Education Branch, Greenmount Campus, College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise, Antrim BT41 4PU, Northern